Creatures that Think in the Dark

Like an epileptic goldfish in a new tank, he paces back and forth.

“I’m not use to this room—”  he states to himself.

Twenty-two sets of eyes all watch; the back and forth kind of hypnotic.

It’s easy to understand that people who work in Advertising are always the smartest people in the room.

It’s also understandable that they embody O.C.D cats. So use to walking the length of a barb-wired fence that now they only flinch at ongoing life that surrounds them.

I guess that’s what makes them such great thinkers. Different kinds of people separated into two lanes of a highway; wired differently yet we all look similar.


Deceiving in silence.

Twitchy, projective.

Assertive to the point of cutting.

Every word too flavoursome.

His eyes always in play, attempting to spook us.


After a few classes, I notice the quirks of the breed. Like deceitful psychologists, advertising people lure us in with their own ad-like presence. Carrying such an impact, it almost looks like an editing team have never been there.

Precise; they use their voice to puncture the air and then your mind with their bullet-like pitches.

Every class follows the same strategy— “consume every word I say.”

Then, using tested-techniques backed by surveys, they embed themselves inside our minds. In places so untraceable you can never fully unpick the threads. Until they pop up months later, not for a friendly visit but to thicken the stack.

Clever, a little too insightful. Minds always roaming, their creativity too alive and interesting. It’s a wonder they can sleep at night, actually I bet most of them can’t; thus caffeine is their greatest life investment.

During my degree I have met quite a few Advertising professors. They are all amazing with people — making it all that much more ironic. Their talent doubling as their demise. As a collective, these creatives are unforgettable in the context of a meeting or a casual coffee every other week.

But to live with, try and keep up with. The webs embedded inside their minds I know are  complex enough to understand, let alone love.

“I’m not that uncomfortable—“

“Great,” he spits, cutting off a late-comer, he seats in the front.

Then, back to his usual pacing across the classroom.


No masters, no phd. “Real-world experience” he tells us, is how he is here. Yet, not how we came here. After his confession it kind of felt like we were watching an atheist preach Judaism.

“Do you know that Visa ad in India, with Richard Gere? Five million dropped on that! Well — I was Richard Gere’s hand, all 19 takes for 19 different cards.” Wasn’t expecting that—another random quote he lets us ponder in our own time.

Like all the other people in his profession, his hobbies include floating his background in Mad-men imagery. No shock-value there. Funny how no female advertising professionals do the same…

He throws a few quotes from the show our way— none of which gel with us.

“Wrong generation huh?”

Then, he changes tack to win us over with Mean Girls references instead.

“Noted,” he commits to his archives.

A curious, collective bunch of minds, these people are. My inner-buddhist thinks people in Advertising don’t exactly deserve to be called people. By going against the unifying goals of humanity (peace and gratitude) they instead preach the need for greed and clutter. Perhaps, ‘Bishops of Commercialist Greed’ [ BCG ] is a better alternative than the title of ‘Advertising Specialists’.

Sounds a bit like a new community soon to be stamped across a government form.


BCG Chapel service is held every Saturday, in a shopping centre nearest to you. It sure as hell won’t cleanse your soul, but it is guaranteed to open your wallet before it opens your eyes ™.”

At age 20, he is the first teacher I have witnessed who makes the class swim or drown in his own think-tank (or shark tank, depending on his mood at the time).

No gum = no patience.

Some classes I take it upon myself to medicate him with my own supply in order to calm his tidal-wave mind from flooding our own. A totalitarian clan we have become, every Thursday from 11-1.


We are his bobble-headed dogs, as he drives the conversation. Or runs in and out like a person who’s house was just set alight.

The way he tests class engagement isn’t by asking us, it’s by pacing. The ones who have a stiff neck at the end win a prize and the others win class participation. But I want the internship that a creative director could pull out of nowhere. That’s my prize.

He whisks his fingers through the air, hands always in play. As fast as a puppeteer, eyes framed in double-circles.

‘Game on’— I throw back at his stare. My neck all prepped from a few exercises I did on the bus.

He re-focuses his stare at the gallery of light switches next to the door. Perhaps this is another kryptonite flaw of such thinkers—-  their human glares have no such effect on technology.

“Noted,” I tell myself, a little too loudly for my liking. I wonder what will become of me, at the end of this degree…


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